MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to the shooting of Chyna Long, a Black transgender woman, who was shot and killed in Milwaukee on October 8. While details are still emerging, reports indicate that the shooter is being charged with first-degree reckless homicide and use of a dangerous weapon.
This incident is not isolated — Long is the fourth Black transgender woman killed in Milwaukee since June 2022. Additionally, since January 2017, there have been at least 245 homicides of transgender individuals in the United States and Puerto Rico, 73% of which were with a gun. It’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered. From 2017 to 2022, the majority of gun homicides of transgender people (66%) were of Black trans women.
“I’m heartbroken to learn of the killing of Chyna Long, a Black transgender woman who was shot while simply existing,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “When easy access to firearms is coupled with racism and transphobia, we create a culture ripe for tragedies like this to occur. To meaningfully honor Chyna’s legacy, we must continue pushing lawmakers to disarm hate, and fight for the dignity of trans communities in Wisconsin and across the country.”
“The horrific shooting of Chyna Long is a chilling reminder of the impact of gun violence on trans communities, which disproportionately affects Black trans women,” said Becky George, Chief Movement Building Officer at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We need gun safety solutions that meaningfully protect transgender people, who are more than twice as likely to be the victims of violence as cisgender people. We stand with Chyna’s loved ones during this difficult time, and remain committed to working at the intersection of gun safety and LGBTQ+ rights towards a safer, more inclusive country for all.”
This tragic trend isn’t happening in a vacuum. Transgender people are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of violence as cisgender people, and it comes as states across the country have been. To keep trans and gender-nonconforming people safe, lawmakers at every level must take action to prioritize legislation that protects individuals from intimate partner violence.
Wisconsin has weak gun laws. Despite having a gun sense champion in the gubernatorial office, lawmakers in the Wisconsin legislature have spent a decade blocking gun safety legislation. Wisconsin has no law requiring background checks on unlicensed gun sales or Extreme Risk law to allow family members or law enforcement to petition for the temporary removal of guns from dangerous situations. In an average year, 678 people die and 1,028 are wounded by guns in Wisconsin – and 65% of gun deaths are by firearm suicide. An average of 58 children and teens die by guns every year in the state, 33% of which are suicides and 61% of which are homicides.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. since 2017. In addition to breaking down gun violence to the state- and county level, the platform includes a database of known trans or gender-nonconforming homicide victims in the United States.